Deposition 3 of 4: Summary, Transcript, and Testimony

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In previous articles, we’ve covered how to prepare for a deposition and how to conduct a deposition using Depositions in Everlaw. This article will discuss post-deposition workflows. In Depositions, you can upload a PDF, TXT, or PTX transcript to the Deposition object, and any exhibits previously marked will be automatically linked within the transcript. Key testimony can be referenced in other work product (Drafts and Depositions), and testimony citations can be copy-pasted outside of Everlaw. These tools can help you preserve meaningful evidence from both documents and testimony in Storybuilder, while allowing you to share that evidence and collaborate with your case team. 

Write a Deposition Summary SB_Diamond_Digital_NB-01.svg

Following the conclusion of a deposition, the Summary tool is helpful to briefly gather the major points from a deposition, which might be lengthy and dense. The Summary tool is intentionally freeform and allows you to collaborate with others on your team without having to leave the Deposition page. If you have Edit permissions on a Deposition, you can edit the Summary. 

To begin your summary, enter your Deposition, then click the Summary view in the top right of the screen. 

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You will know that you are in the Summary if you see a light grey banner within the text body. Screen_Shot_2020-04-13_at_4.39.00_PM.png

Summaries function almost identically to Drafts. Multiple users can edit the Summary at once, changes are saved in real time, and work product can be conveniently exported. 

You cannot conduct the following actions in Summary:

  • Create a copy: If you need to copy a Summary, we recommend that you export the document and re-import, or copy and paste the text
  • Reference documents: To see your document list, toggle back to the Deposition view. Because you cannot reference documents in a Summary, you cannot export to PDF with images (you can export to PDF or Word)

You can learn about editing a Summary by visiting this section of the Drafts help article

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Upload a Transcript and Supported Formats SB_Diamond_Digital_NB-01.svg

Everlaw supports PDFs (with embedded text), TXT, and PTX transcript files. Transcripts must have line numbers on the left margins of the document.  If you choose an unsupported file type, you will not be able to upload the file. 

If necessary, Everlaw will automatically OCR transcript files on upload. You can download an OCRed PDF of your transcript after it has been uploaded. For more information, see the Export Annotated Transcripts section. 

You can upload a transcript to a Deposition object you’ve already created. Note that uploading a transcript into a Deposition will not upload the transcript as a document in the database. Transcripts are only viewable on the Deposition object. Enter the Deposition, then click the Transcript button in the top right of the screen. Here, you can drag and drop or browse to select your transcript file. 

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You can also upload a transcript when creating a Deposition object. Create a new Deposition from the homepage or from the Story’s dashboard, in the Depositions tab. You can learn more about creating a Deposition in this article. At the bottom of the creation dialog, you can drag and drop or browse to select your transcript file. 

When uploading a transcript, you also have the option to upload transcript video files with a sync file. Learn more about video depositions and uploading synced videos.

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If you experience an error when uploading a transcript, it might be because of the following:

  • Parsing: Because the transcript viewer handles documents with a certain format, it must “parse” (read and interpret the text) into line numbers, which should be displayed but not selectable, and text content. If you experience a parsing error, the transcript will not be uploaded or some lines will not be highlightable. When this occurs, you can either replace your file with a different one or try the same file again. Note that video processing will fail when attempting to upload deposition video with a transcript with parsing issues. 
  • Max size limit: You may have tried to upload a transcript larger than 200 MB. Your document will not be uploaded, and you can replace your file with a different one for upload.
  • Formatting error: Your document is a supported file type, and has parsable text, but is not recognized as a supported transcript format. Your document will be uploaded successfully, but some, most, or all of the text will be unselectable and greyed out. 
    • Scanned PDFs, 4-page manuscripts, or transcripts with unusual numbering schemes are not optimal for the transcript uploader. These files will be uploaded and readable if they’re an Everlaw-supported file type, but they will likely have formatting errors. You won’t be able to link exhibits or create testimony.

When you’ve selected your transcript file, you’ll be asked to create a citation. Citations will be appended to any transcript text copy-pasted out of Everlaw.

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View Your Transcript SB_Diamond_Digital_NB-01.svg

Once your transcript is uploaded successfully, you will be taken directly to the Deposition, where you can view the transcript. If your Deposition includes a transcript, then you will be directed to the Transcript view any time you visit the Deposition. The transcript lives within the Deposition object, in a separate view accessible via the “Transcript” tab in the top right of the page. 

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Transcripts are loaded as scrollable, selectable-text files with line numbering. Once the transcript file is rendered, you can highlight specific lines of text and add annotations and/or preserve them as testimony as needed. You can also click on any exhibit number or Bates number to preview and open the document for review. 

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If headers and footers are included in your transcript, those will be included but disabled from selection. Any other text that is not transcribed (perhaps an appendix at the end of the transcript) will also be included but disabled from selection. 

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Link Exhibits Automatically and Manually SB_Diamond_Digital_NB-01.svg

Documents that are marked as exhibits are important because they represent critical information introduced during the deposition. In Everlaw, you can mark documents as exhibits, assign aliases to exhibits, and automatically and manually link exhibits to transcript text.

Marking exhibits

To mark a document as an exhibit, click on the document object in the list to open the document details view. From there, you can assign an exhibit name, consisting of the prefix and the alphanumeric identifier. This is also commonly referred to as the exhibit number. 

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Depending on your permissions, you can also add or edit the available prefixes from the prefix manager, accessible from the “Manage prefixes link” in the sidebar or the link icon in the toolbar. 

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For more information about marking documents as exhibits, please see this article.  

Automatic linking based on exhibit names

If you have marked documents as exhibits, Everlaw can automatically identify and link references to the exhibits in the transcript. Any linked text in the transcript will appear as a blue hyperlink. 

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Clicking on linked text will open a panel with the following options:

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  • Preview (eye icon): Open a preview of the document
  • Exhibit link: View and edit the linked exhibit
    • If you change the linked exhibit, it will only affect the particular instance of linked text you are viewing, not all instances of the same text in the transcript
  • Unlink: Unlink the text from the exhibit. Unlinking only affects the particular instance of linked text you are viewing. Other instances of the same text in the transcript will not be affected. 

Automatic linking is based on exact textual matches with the exhibit name (prefix plus identifier).

Automatic linking based on aliases

If exhibits are referred to in the transcript by something other than their names, you can automatically link these alternative references using the alias tool. For example, if the phrase “phone logs” is used to refer to an exhibit, you can assign “phone logs” as an alias of that exhibit. 

Aliases can be created and managed from the alias management pop-up, accessible from the link icon on the toolbar.

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To create new aliases for an exhibit, click the “New alias” button. A new row will appear on the table. You must first select the exhibit you wish to create aliases for. Keep in mind that the exhibit must be assigned to a document in the deposition before it appears here as an available option.  

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After the exhibit is identified, you can then input the aliases in the Alias column, with one unique alias per line. Aliases can be any alphanumeric text string; if an alias contains invalid symbols, like dashes or dots, Everlaw will convert them to spaces.  

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A given alias can only be assigned to one exhibit. Aliases that are part of other aliases are allowed, but in such cases the more inclusive alias will take precedence. For example, imagine you have two aliases, “logs” assigned to Exhibit 1 and “computer logs” assigned to Exhibit 2. All instances of “computer logs” in the transcript will be linked to Exhibit 2, while all standalone instances of “logs” will be linked to Exhibit 1.

When making changes on the alias pop-up, keep in mind that you must both (1) save the individual changes to the rows and (2) save the overall changes for any modifications to take effect. 

Automatic linking based on suggested exhibit links

Based on the prefixes you’ve configured for the deposition, Everlaw will search the transcript text for possible exhibit references that are unlinked, and suggest them to you for assignment to documents. For more information on how to add or edit prefixes, please see this article. 

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For example, imagine you have two prefixes set up in your deposition: the default “Exhibit” prefix and a new “Plaintiff Exhibit” prefix. Everlaw will search for every unlinked instance of text in the transcript that follows this pattern: [PREFIX] [WORD]. 

Clicking the link icon in the transcript toolbar will open a pop-up that allows you to browse through all instances of text that match the pattern above. You can easily mark a document with the suggested exhibit, with [WORD] being used as the exhibit number/identifier. 

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Once assigned to a document, all references to the exhibit in the transcript will be automatically linked. 

Manual linking and unlinking

In addition to automatic linking, you can also manually link and unlink specific transcript text. After selecting transcript text, a panel will appear with options to either link or unlink the text. Manual actions only affect the given instance of text; other instances of the same text in the transcript will not be affected. 

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The only exception is if you make the selected text an alias of the chosen exhibit while linking. In that case, all instances of the selected text in the transcript will be linked to the exhibit. 

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Browsing through all exhibit references

After a document is marked as an exhibit, the document details view will contain a count of all the exhibit references linked in the transcript. This includes text automatically linked through the exhibit name and aliases, and manually linked text. You can use the arrows to jump through all linked exhibit references. 

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Mass unlinking and reassignment of links

There are three actions that can result in either a mass unlinking of text or reassignment of links:

  • Unassigning an exhibit: Saving an exhibit with an empty number field is equivalent to unassigning the exhibit. The underlying document will no longer be marked as the exhibit and all instances of the exhibit name in the transcript will no longer be linked to anything. 
  • Deleting a prefix: When a prefix is deleted, all aliases associated with that prefix will also be deleted. Marked exhibits that use that prefix will fall back to the default “Exhibit” prefix, except in cases where that would result in conflicting marked exhibits.
    • For example, imagine you have three marked exhibits: “Exhibit 1”, “Gov Exhibit 1”, and “Gov Exhibit 2”. If you delete the prefix “Gov Exhibit”:
      • “Gov Exhibit 2 will become “Exhibit 2”. Instances of “Gov Exhibit 2” in the transcript will become unlinked and instances of “Exhibit 2” will become linked.
      • Because “Gov Exhibit 1” would become “Exhibit 1” and thereby conflict with the existing “Exhibit 1”, it will instead be unassigned.
  • Deleting or editing aliases: If an alias is deleted, all corresponding text in the transcript will become unlinked. If an alias is edited, all text corresponding to the edited alias will become linked.   

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Search, Highlight, and Create Testimony SB_Diamond_Digital_NB-01.svg

If you click and drag text in the transcript you can run searches, highlight important text, and elevate the text as testimony so that it is referenceable throughout your Story. 

The transcript viewer supports full text search, including words, phrases, regular expression (regex), fuzzy, proximity, and wildcard searches. Click the magnifying glass, and then navigate to the Search tab where you will see the resulting search. If you select more than one word, Everlaw will create a phrase search.

You can also search your transcript by entering your desired term into the search box in the Search tab, then pressing Enter on your keyboard.

Your term will be added to the Search hit list in the right side panel. Each search highlight is assigned a random color. 

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Note that searches are user-specific and not viewable by anyone else on the Deposition. Once you refresh the browser, or navigate away from the page, your searches will be cleared. You can also click the “X” icon next to a search to remove it without moving away from the page. 

You can search across all deposition transcripts by going to the "Depositions" tab of the StoryBuilder dashboard. Besides word and phrase searches, the content search box also supports all the advanced search functionality described in this article

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In addition to search, you can create a highlight from your text selection. Click the caret to choose a new color other than the default (yellow).

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You can also click the highlighter icon in the toolbar directly, then click and drag to highlight. We recommend this method if you’re creating an overlapping highlight. 

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Once you’ve highlighted text, a dialog box will appear. Here you have a variety of options to annotate, edit, and label your highlight. 

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Add to Story as key testimony

Click Add to Story, and your highlight will now appear in your Story’s Timeline as testimony. A tab with a quotation mark icon will appear above the highlight to indicate that testimony has been created. 

To reference this testimony snippet in another Deposition or Draft, click the blue + sign under References. You can add testimony to any Deposition or Draft in that Story (including the source Deposition the testimony came from). To learn about referencing testimony in your Draft, see this help article

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When adding a highlight to your Story, thereby creating testimony, you will also see an editable details panel. Here, you can add a Story date, description, and relevance to your testimony. These details will be updated in the Timeline and across any Depositions or Drafts that you’ve added the piece of testimony to. If you click Remove from Story, the highlight will remain in your transcript, but the testimony in your Timeline and any Depositions or Drafts you’ve added it to will be deleted.

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Labels: 

Labels added to your Story can then be applied to highlights in a transcript. As you apply labels, tabs will appear above the highlight for easier skimming. If you create testimony, thus adding a highlight to the Story, you can use labels to filter by testimony and documents in the Timeline. 

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Edit highlight range: 

Click the pencil icon in the dialog box. You will enter “Edit Mode,” in which you can select a new range to replace the previously selected one. When you’re satisfied with your new selection, click Update in the yellow banner. Your range will be updated in the transcript and throughout the Story if your highlight has been elevated to testimony.

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Copy-paste text with citation: 

You can click the copy-to-clipboard button in the dialog to copy the selected highlight in order to paste it out of Everlaw.

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The pasted text will include the transcript text in quotation marks (with line breaks at any start of a question or answer detected in the transcript), followed by the citation in parentheses. 

The citation, which you defined when you uploaded the transcript, can be edited in the toolbar of the transcript view. Click Save to update your citation. This will update citations for all existing testimony from this transcript throughout your Story. 

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Note that throughout your Story, anywhere that you can reference testimony you can also copy the text with its citation.

Notes: 

Click the text input box that says “Add a new note…”. Start typing your note, then click away from the window, or click Save. Your note is applied to the document, published by you, and timestamped. A notes icon will appear as a tab above the highlight for easier skimming. 

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Anyone with at least View permissions on the Deposition can view all notes (including author and date) and highlights. 

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Navigate Highlights and Testimony

You can toggle between highlights in your transcript by using the Highlights panel. The highlights display Story information like title and labels. Use the left and right paddles to jump through all highlights. You can also navigate between a single label category, or even a specific label within that category.

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Click the drop-down to the right of the highlights header to filter. Click the “Added to Story” filter to limit your navigation to highlights promoted to testimony. Click “Has notes” to filter by highlights with notes. You can also filter by labels by clicking the selecting the labels. You can use multiple filters at once, if needed.

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If multiple highlights start at the same location, the tabs above the highlights will be condensed. For example, these highlights both start at the beginning of the same line, so you can’t see their labels above them (only the count of labels). You can click the tabs to open up that specific highlight and see which labels are applied. 

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Export Annotated Transcripts SB_Diamond_Digital_NB-01.svg

Click on the download icon in the toolbar to download the transcript in its native format, download an OCRed PDF of the transcript, or export your annotated transcript (with notes, labels, etc.) to a PDF or Word document. Only users with document download permission will be able to export transcripts.  

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Choose Export annotations to choose between a PDF or Word export. You can export the transcript and its annotations (including highlighted text) or just the annotations. If you select Annotations only, you can choose to exclude the Full Text Snippet and just display the citations in your export. 

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If you select Annotations only, you can choose to exclude the Full Text Snippet and just display the citations in your export. 

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If you export to Word, note that any notes on your highlights will be displayed as Word comments. To see overlapping highlights more clearly in Word, select their associated comment to focus on its highlight. 

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In PDFs, overlapping highlights will blend highlight colors. After selecting your export options, you can filter your exported highlights by label. All label categories and labels within the categories are selected by default. Click the carets to expose the list of labels, which you can select/deselect. You can also choose to filter by testimony in your export (all highlights added to Story) as well as unlabeled highlights.

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When you’re satisfied with your export specifications, click Export. 

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Replace Transcript Files SB_Diamond_Digital_NB-01.svg

You might need to replace a transcript file, for example because the first transcript you received may not be the final transcript, or perhaps you uploaded the wrong file. You can replace your file within the transcript viewer. If you have Edit permissions on the Deposition object, you can replace a transcript file. Note that replacing your transcript will delete all highlights, testimony, and associated annotations!

Click the settings icon in the toolbar and select Replace transcript file. 

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A dialog will appear where, similar to the Deposition creation dialog, you can drag and drop or browse to select your new file. The same file type requirements apply to replacement as they do to new transcripts uploaded. When you’ve selected a file, click Replace. 

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You may experience a parsing or size limit error upon replacement. If this is the case, try a new file, or click Cancel to keep your existing file. 

If your new transcript has a formatting error (text is parsable but not supported as a transcript format), then the file will be uploaded, replacing the old file. Text that is unselectable will be in grey.

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